The Chinese had developed the breed paying particular attention to large size of the bird and to the eggs it produced. It was designed to
have tolerably good table qualities at 12 weeks, but it excelled as capon – best harvested at 15-16 months, at which time it would weigh
about 12lbs. Meat texture at other stages of harvest was found to be coarse and the breed’s meat tended toward a larger portion of dark
meat than breast meat. The eggs of the Cochin are extremely large, and the majority of them come during the winter.
The Cochin chicken, though promoted with great enthusiasm as productive all around, never met with commercial success. Stephen Beale
in 1895 wrote in his book, Profitable Poultry Keeping, “The Cochin then and now being the least profitable of all of our breeds of poultry
The breed, then and now, has characteristics, which offer some advantages and disadvantages. Cochin chickens are great eaters of food,
and indiscriminate in their preferences. This combined with their unmatched profuseness of feathering make them an ideal choice for colder
climates and gives them the ability to eat enough to produce both animal heat and eggs during the heart of winter. They feather slowly, but
are very hardy and, like the Brahma chicken, will thrive under conditions where other breeds would perish. Cochins are predisposed to
becoming too fat. Such fattening can stop egg production and even lead to death by disorder of the liver. Lewis Wright, in his book The
Practical Poultry Keeper, circa 1892, recommended that Cochins should receive a daily ration of green food to keep them healthy.
Cochin hens are inclined to broodiness and will hatch more than one batch per year if allowed. As a broody fowl they have no equals, even
the roosters will occasionally brood the chicks; though Cochins do tend to wean the young a bit soon if used to hatch chicks early in the
year while it is still cold. They are considered the best fowls for hatching and brooding ducks and turkeys. Because of the size of Cochins,
be cautioned that the hens can easily break thin-shelled eggs.
But of all the unique characteristics of this wonderful breed of chicken there is one more that perhaps stands out above all others –
personality. Cochins are noted for extremely gentle dispositions. The males reputedly seldom become aggressive (not as true in the
Bantam version of the breed) or even quarrel. They are easily tamed and may find themselves more suited to your home than your poultry
yard. They are not inclined to wander nor do they scratch as profusely as other breeds. A fence two feet tall will keep them contained and
they endure confinement easily. It is said that Cochins, even under adverse conditions, immediately sets about making themselves
Cochins are recognized by the American Poultry Association in several color patterns: Buff, Partridge, White, Black, Silver Laced, Golden
Laced, Blue, Brown, and Barred (listed in order of development). They were admitted to the Standard of Perfection in 1874. This is a good
breed of choice when a large, astonishing chicken is desirable, which happens to have a docile, gentle disposition. They represent all the
best in maternal characteristics, and will even, when not brooding, supply wonderfully, large brown eggs. Because they do not fly they will
require low roosts. Muddy pens should be avoided as frostbite of their feathered toes can easily follow.
Use: Meat, Ornamental
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Large
Market Weight: 7 - 9 lbs
One of the best broody
breeds, especially for turkeys
and ducks, good in cold
climates; Excellent capon at 12
months of age
We are NPIP
Don't forget to test your
birds for show and swaps.
We can do it for a small
fee -- Arkansas Private